RNA 1: What's In A Roll - Part One

It's great to contribute to this first RNA lesson!

The contents of any roll are usually a melody note and 2 or more "drone" notes, which fill in space and add rhythmic interest to the melody. The topic this month is "What's in a G Roll." If the roll is used over a G major chord, odds are that the drone notes are chord tones of a G major triad (G, B, or D). But to really use rolls to your advantage, it's good to learn rolls as a right-hand technique independently of chords, and then learn to adapt which melody notes and open strings you choose to fit any chord you might encounter. As such, think of a 3-note roll as having one melody note and 2 drone strings. As long as the melody note and drone notes are somewhat acceptable to the ear over a given chord, you can use that combination of notes over that chord. So the answer to the question "What's in a G Roll" is 3 or more notes played with Thumb, Index, and Middle, where all of the notes "work" over a G chord. So I recommend learning the following exercises for G, but being open to the possibilities of what you can do with this little bit of roll knowledge.

I'm going to get into an advanced roll concept later on, but if you want some roll basics first, I've modified a couple of lessons/tabs that you may have seen before on standard bluegrass rolls in G. I added right-hand info to the tabs, which should be helpful. Forgive my low-tech mp3, as I only have my laptop's internal mic and freebie software just now…

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